At the end of the December we often spend a bit of time thinking over the previous year.  It may have been a good year with new opportunities at work, or new family members.  We may also have had a difficult year, with illness, loss of loved ones or stressful times.  Most of us will have had our ups and downs.  We may be frustrated with ourselves because we haven’t achieved what we set out to achieve, or satisfied because we have.

At this time it can be useful to set aside a bit of time to reassess our personal values ie. the things we think are important.  You can think about your values in relation to yourself, your kids, your partner, your friendships or beliefs.

Once you have decided your values you can break them down into different areas; think about what you’re doing at the moment, and any changes you would like to make.

As an example “Nuture the kids” is one of our family values. An area that we’ve reassessed over the last year is their activities. It can be tricky to get the balance right – we wanted to give our kids lots of opportunities but were gradually becoming more and more stressed with all the rushing around. The last few months we’ve cut out a few bits and pieces and the balance feels a lot better. The kids also seem more relaxed so maybe less is actually more!

Additionally we’ve realised that despite being brought up in the same house by the same parents, our 7 year old daughter is already far less active than our 9 year old son. She would always choose drawing or playing with her lego over something that involves exercise. I’ve made an effort recently to take her out and do a bit of jogging together a couple of times a week. She can’t manage much yet but we’re building it up. It helps that some of her friends and their mums are meeting up with us to jog at the weekends. This is definitely something that we would plan on maintaining over the coming year.

There’s other stuff we’ll be looking to build on in the next year to keep them healthy and happy. Things like the amount of quality family time we have with them and how we can make the most of it.

Don’t make a huge list – it’ll just put you off, 4 or 5 main values is probably about right. Then you can work on the detail. They can be reassessed and changed at anytime. You could print them out and put them somewhere visible to help you remember them. If you have a family you could work on agreeing your values together.

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